Serial sex offender recalled to jail after targeting teenager at Sunderland bus station

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

A serial sex offender who pestered a frightened schoolgirl on a bus has been put behind bars.

Robert English repeatedly asked the 13-year-old the time then followed her onto a bus at Park Lane station in Sunderland in February.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 54-year-old kept touching his private parts, over his clothing, while bombarding the girl, who was travelling home after school sports practice, with questions.

She so disturbed that she moved seats before the bus even pulled away and English walked off.

He was tracked down through CCTV after the she text her mother during her journey.

English, of Bensham Court, Gateshead, denied wrongdoing and claimed he had been touching his crotch due to “burning pain and stinging” from a urine infection.

He later pleaded guilty to breach of a sex offences prevention order, imposed as a result of previous offending.

His criminal record includes convictions for exposure and sexual assault on teenage victims, including a previous attack on public transport.

Judge Tim Gittins said the incident was “deeply unsettling, unpleasant and uncomfortable” for the teen at the bus station, who has now been left wary of public transport and strangers.

He added there was concern English’s shocking behaviour was a “prelude” to something more sinister and jailed him for 14 months.

The court heard English was out on licence from a previous prison sentence when he targeted the Sunderland girl and has been recalled to prison until the end of October 2019.

It was also told he had health problems and has been doing volunteer work for charities.

Shaun Routledge, defending, said the CCTV footage indicated there was no prospect of English trying to touch the teen on the bus.